RIM launches 4G PlayBook

New version of maligned BlackBerry tablet to go on sale in Canada next week.

Research In Motion Ltd. launched a new version of its PlayBook tablet Thursday, hoping to improve sales of a product that has largely been a failure for the BlackBerry maker.
The 4G, or fourth-generation, PlayBook will launch first in Canada on Aug. 9, and will feature upgraded tools and performance, such as a more integrated inbox, front and rear-facing high definition cameras and high-speed connectivity.
RIM launched its first PlayBook last year to dismal reviews. The original version came without email and other basic functions, and sales were weak. RIM wrote off nearly half a billion dollars in unsold PlayBook inventory last year. RIM shipped 260,000 tablets in its latest fiscal quarter. Apple Inc., by comparison, sold 17 million iPads in its fiscal third quarter, which ended in June.
Despite the poor sales, RIM executives have said they remain committed to the tablet market.